Monday, November 24, 2014

Jewels in the Jungle

After I read books about Cambodia when I was a child, the images of ancient temples were forever imprinted on my mind. So, for my birthday this year, I finally checked this off my bucket list.

Cambodia is a simple but beautiful country with lovely treasures, friendly people, delicious food and a place where I wouldn't mind having lots of photographs with my loved ones.

Temples are not normally the top-of-mind location for engagement photos but being in Cambodia might change your mind. Hubby and I really enjoyed our trip, and since we only scratched the surface of Siem Reap, we will definitely be back.

Instead of the usual morning tour going to Angkor Wat, we chose to go to the 3rd location first so that we can have Ta Prohm to ourselves and then go to Angkor Wat  later in the day (while the other tourists were already in Ta Prohm).

Photos of the boutique hotel where we stayed.

Below was our welcome food and beverage.

The mandatory reflection pool photo.

Hidden in Siem Reap's jungles are centuries-old temples. 

One of the highlights of our trip was riding the elephant around Bayon Temple!

Restoration work being done in the background thanks to the support of various countries.

Missing stones from the walls. :-(

There was an altar of sorts in one of the temples and our guide asked hubby and me to be in a praying position. This would be to ensure long-lasting love. :-)

The next day, we went to a different area with more temples. It's just amazing how the Cambodians were able to preserve all these beautiful structures given their very volatile history.

Unlike the machines now used to restore some of the temples, the original structures were built by hand, stones mined from the mountains and carried by elephants. No cement. Just stones on top of each other.      It was just fortunate that Cambodia has been spared from nature's harsh elements. No major earthquakes, flood, volcanic eruption. If ever there were portions missing like buddha heads or slabs of stone, these were looted by soldiers during the Khmer Rouge or vandals (sometimes tourists).

The intricate carvings at Bantay Srei were just jaw-droppingly beautiful.

That's our friendly tour guide, Muny.

Such a beautiful place for engagement photos. We will definitely be back!